PROMISE Launches Recruitment

School-to-adulthood initiative will include 2,000 teens
Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Recruitment of teens and their families for the research initiative New York State PROMISE -- Promoting the Readiness of Minors in Supplemental Security Income -- has started in New York City, Western New York and the Albany area.

ILR's Employment and Disability Institute is a partner, along with schools, parent centers and service providers, in the federal program developed to improve transition-to-adulthood outcomes for eligible youth ages 14 to 16 who have disabilities and who receive supplemental security income.

New York State PROMISE is slated to recruit a total of 2,000 youths by April of 2016. Eligible youth and their families will receive personal invitations to participate and details about recruitment events.

Joey DiPiazza, Albany School District transition coordinator, said "We are thrilled to be starting the recruitment process for NYS PROMISE and are looking forward to this opportunity to work closely with so many local agencies to help eligible youth in our community develop the social, financial, and professional skills they need to excel academically and in the workforce."

Employment and Disability Institute Research Specialist Valerie Malzer said, "This is a significant milestone in moving NYS PROMISE from concept to implementation, and marks the beginning of this initiative's direct work with youth and families and delivering NYS PROMISE services to participants."

NYS PROMISE will also provide trainings and materials for partnering agencies in each region. Project partners will attend statewide meetings twice a year, and will have access to technical assistance, training scholarships and specialized professional development.

Adene Karhan, special education resource specialist with the Parent Network of the Capital Region, said, "As a social worker, I am well aware of the obstacles that are faced by youth who are living in poverty."

"Far too many youth are dropping out of school or getting involved in high-risk activities because they have no hope for a better future."

"While I realize that PROMISE will not remove all of the barriers that they face, I feel hopeful that the skills and knowledge that they receive and the relationships that they build will instill a confidence that will help them to reach their greatest potential," she said.

"If I can help even a handful of youth start on a more positive pathway towards economic independence, I will feel good about the work that I have done," Karhan said.

The New York State PROMISE program is a five-year initiative that strives to increase access to services for eligible youth and their families to improve academic and employment outcomes, increase financial stability and reduce reliance on federal Supplemental Security Income.

New York State PROMISE is one of six PROMISE awards granted by the US. Department of Education in October 2013.

Partnering agencies include The Parent Center of Western New York, Wildwood Programs, Inc. in the Capital Region, and Resources for Children with Special Needs in the New York City area, regional schools and service providers.

The PROMISE intervention model was jointly developed by the U.S. departments of Education, Health and Human Services, and Labor, and the U.S. Social Security Administration in an effort to improve service provision and coordination for youth with disabilities who receive Supplemental Security Income and their families.

For more information about PROMISE in New York state, contact Michelle Podolec of the Employment and Disability Institute at 607.255.2886.